Monday, August 06, 2007

Forward Into Battle

With The Wall Street Journal and a new business network, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News chief Roger Ailes plan their next move: all-out war.

by Johnnie L. Roberts - August 13th, 2007 (Issue Date) - MSNBC (Newsweek)

Rupert Murdoch, owner-in-waiting of The Wall Street Journal, is taking the high road. After a bitter three-month battle to win approval from enough bickering Bancrofts to buy their Dow Jones & Co., the mogul struck a gracious tone with the family, whose century of control he was now bringing to an end. "Given the Bancrofts' long and distinguished history as custodians of Dow Jones, we appreciate how difficult this decision was for some family members," Murdoch said in a statement issued in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, after receiving enough votes from family members to ensure his $5.6 billion purchase of the company. "I want to offer the Bancrofts my thanks, and an assurance that our company and my family will be equally strong custodians." With that, the great battle for Dow Jones came to a close.

This battle to acquire the Wall Street Journal was more than a battle about who owns one newspaper. This is a battle about the future of free enterprise, capitalism and socialism. It is reflected in the adoption by the Republican Party of George W. Bush's "compassionate conservative" message that has proven to be little but socialism light. It is about the war for the soul of all nations in our increasingly global society. Murdoch is right when he sees it as war.

The war between free enterprise, capitalism and socialism has gone on for centuries. Free enterprise and capitalism are not the same thing but many advocates of capitalism try and claim they are. The truth? Small business is all for free enterprise. Small business is the engine of the economy of nations. That is where the rules allow genius about the future to start new businesses and compete in an almost unfettered way against the status quo, delivering new products inexpensively to consumers. Capitalism is where the rich and static or dying businesses use their wealth and profits to purchase small businesses that have proven their mettle and pointed the way to the future. They expand these enterprises while using their partners in government to stomp out competition. Profits are thus enhanced at the expense of society as a whole, and in an intelligent society, new small businesses take up the slack.

Free enterprise is about competition, while capitalism is about limiting competition and maintaining the monopoly power that a business gained by winning the competitive battle through ending competition and replacing it with government rules and partnerships. The balance between free enterprise and capitalism is important because it is easy for capitalism to become socialism and destroy an economy when the partnership becomes too cozy or government starts to take over the ownership role. Socialism fails too many of the various parts of a society and can only be maintained through a tyranny. Eastern Europe proved this.

These definitions are not the commonly accepted definitions but are inherent in the common understandings of the concepts. The collapse of the Republican Party in the last election was reflected in two trends of society that are rejecting failed messages, one relating to this battle of free enterprise versus capitalism and the other a failed message about the use of war.

That first trend: as much as Bush's tax policies have driven the economy to new levels, the growing power of large corporations to over compensate the rich in collusion with government has created a backlash against free enterprise (ironically not against capitalism which was behind it). The rich are concerned about the backlash and want to make sure that the result is not a movement to socialism which takes away the private ownership component of capitalism so critical to the rich. They are happy with the current balance. They don't want small businesses to come along through free enterprise and destroy their wealth. Nor do they want socialism to seize it. Too many people are rejecting the free enterprise message and voting for government handouts.

The second trend: growing opposition to the idealism of spreading democracy in the middle east because it is too subtle a concept to win the hearts and minds of the American people when the blood of our citizens is the price. The tone deaf George W. Bush sucked the Republican Party into backing this concept of spreading democracy as the way to defeat Islamofascism. Many people who understood the real reason we are fighting, that Islamofascism must be defeated, backed Bush because it seemed a reasonable strategy, but these fellow Republicans lost out when the "spread democracy" message Bush touted failed even with the Republican core audience.

These two trends are critical. They are intertwined. This is where Murdoch's media empire comes in. We are moving into a world of super powerful organizations as nations respond to the movements of Islamofascism and Global Capitalism. We are also living in a world where people are determined to feel they have some control. People thus want to hear news that reflects their gut beliefs, not idealistic concepts they are unhappy with. The Murdoch empire is at the center of these two powerful trends. More than any other media empire Murdoch reflects the practical reality promoting both selfless patriotism toward governments that provide some freedom and monetary self interest of the rich providing economic stability in an era of globalization through large size organizations.

It is ironic that the existing media is so enamored of the failed concept of socialism they do not see the acceptance of practicality by Murdoch's empire as being middle of the road in this new world. They can only see Murdoch's "practicality" in reference to their left wing ideology developed in a different time in a different world. They thus believe it is right wing. It is not.

The part that concerns me is the consequence of this new world where every organization is huge. I recognize the reality of the global trend that Murdoch is simply riding, not leading. However the trend to large organizations is of great concern to the individual. Will freedom survive?


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